Our Staff

What makes us unique?

All tutors have completed explicit coursework related to the subject they teach. In addition to being Certified or working towards Certification, they are provided ongoing mentorship and staff development in the areas of Literacy, the Science of Reading, and Mathematics.

Leah Skinner, M.Ed

Program Director

Leah is currently working towards a Doctor of Education in Reading and Literacy.  She holds a Master of Education: Dyslexia Specialist degree and is a Certified Dyslexia Therapist trained in numerous Structured Literacy Programs (Orton-Gillingham). Being a Certified Special Education Advocate, Leah is committed to helping parents navigate the world of education and dyslexia. After a rewarding experience at a school for dyslexic students for 5 years, Leah made the decision to bring her passion and knowledge to a larger community and opened READ Academy of Sacramento with a team of talented and experienced teachers. Leah’s endeavors are supported by her husband of 27 years and her 5 sons (3 of whom are dyslexic).

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Kassie Hughey

Assistant Program Director

Kassie has always known that she wanted to be an educator. She first worked with struggling students by volunteering for the Placer County Reading Council. She then tutoring using the Barton Reading and Spelling System receiving her Advanced level certification in 2018. In addition, Kassie holds a Bachelor’s in English from Sacramento State University. Kassie has worked with dyslexic students for many years teaching Foundations in Sounds, Barton and Wilson Reading System. She helps students reach their fullest potential through compassion, empathy and a teaching style that is tailored to every student’s needs.

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Jen McNairy

Math Instructor

In addition to a Bachelor of Science in Finance, Jennifer has completed over 250 hours in Making Math Real coursework and has been a classroom practitioner of the MMR methodology for over 5 years. Jennifer became passionate about specialized math instruction when her daughter was identified with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Jennifer’s personal experience with her own four children (2 sets of twins!), her experience with hundreds of students with learning disabilities, her specialized instruction at the Making Math Real Institute, and her extensive independent research makes her one of the area’s leading specialists in addressing dyscalculia.

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Alyssa Albert

Reading Instructor

Alyssa grew up in Truckee, California where her passion for teaching first began when she made online videos teaching children various speech and writing topics for a private school. She then began to teach more hands on learning as a children’s snowboard/ski instructor. Alyssa attended California State University of Monterey Bay and while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies she also completed courses in Psychology and Childhood/Adolescent Development. Alyssa looks forward to helping her students at READ Academy flourish.

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Julie Starbird

Reading Instructor

After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Government, Julie worked in IT for a Financial Services company for 10 years. When one of her three children was diagnosed with dyslexia, Julie became passionate about wanting to help other children who were struggling to read. Julie is certified in the Barton Reading and Spelling System and is currently enrolled in the Wilson Reading System Certification program. Julie is a Certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner working towards her Dyslexia Therapist designation in 2022.  She is excited to be a part of READ Learning Center.

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Brianna Gonzalez

Math Instructor

Brianna’s passion for teaching and helping students began in high school where she became a tutor in Math and Science. She then went on to attend Sierra College where she pursued her Bachelor’s Degree in Science, while also completing courses in Psychology and Human Development. She will be utilizing her instruction in Making Math Real to educate her students efficiently, ensuring that they receive the quality of math instruction and a deep understanding that they deserve. She strives to create a positive and engaging environment where her students are able to build confidence and excel in their work.

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Achante Broadnax

Writing Instructor

Achante began her journey into education in high school where she tutored in English writing classes. As she continued her education, teaching became something that she grew passionate about. Her goal is to help all students achieve confidence in their academic abilities. Achante is trained in Foundations in Sounds, Barton Reading and Spelling and Institute For Excellence in Writing curriculum. When she is not teaching, she is working towards a Bachelors in Social and Behavioral Sciences and assisting in English classes at the college level.

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JoAnne Kienle

Reading Instructor

JoAnne is a certified Wilson Practitioner and pursued Liberal Studies with a minor in Child Psychology at San Diego State University. She also holds a Montessori certification and has extensive teaching experience starting from elementary school in Sacramento to Santa Barbara, San Diego, Monument, Colorado and now back to Sacramento. When her oldest son was diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD and generalized anxiety she soon pursued Wilson training. Her son’s success in reading and comprehension at and above grade level led her passion in helping kids overcome their struggles and motivating them to enjoy reading as well.

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Shelley Russ

Reading Instructor

Shelley has over 15 years experience working with children in a public school setting and also with dyslexic students in a private school setting. In addition to being a talented Certified Barton Reading and Spelling instructor, Shelley is the go-to person for students, staff and parents alike. She is a dedicated administrative assistant and tirelessly supports all staff. She is the friendly voice on the phone, the smiling face at the beginning and end of the day, the safe-keeper of students and the one that everyone knows.

Shelley Russ

Patrick Maddrell

Reading Instructor

Patrick Maddrell, originally from Liverpool in England, is currently working as an Instructional Aide with the Sacramento City Unified School District. He is also completing a degree at CSUS in History with the intention of teaching at high/middle school. Patrick really believes in the benefits of the Barton Reading and Spelling System for struggling students. He is the father of 3 boys aged 13, 17 and 18. He has also lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and feels that living in a different culture has been the biggest influence on who he is today. He loves living in California because the people are some of the nicest he’s ever met!

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Milan Djurasovic

Writing Instructor

Milan holds a BA in Psychology and a minor in History from the University of California, Davis.  He also studied at the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Germany, and holds a Master of Arts in Russian Cultural Studies from the European University at St. Petersburg, Russia.  In his free time, Milan enjoys reading, writing, and playing sports.  He brings his passion for history and his love for basketball to Read Academy where the students strive to beat him during the friendly lunchtime games.  READ is lucky to have both a historian and an athlete in our faculty! 

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Melissa Camacho

Writing Instructor

Melissa is an accredited IEW instructor and certified Barton tutor. She received her BA in English and worked as a professional writer before becoming a teacher. Melissa has first-hand experience with the unique challenges that come with teaching a dyslexic child. Her own dyslexic son is thriving in public school after being taught to read and write using the Barton and IEW curriculums. She loves IEW’s structured and systematic method of teaching writing. She finds joy in seeing her students, who often start out thinking writing is their most difficult subject, become capable and confident writers. 

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Megan Welsh

Math Instructor

Megan joined our team of talented teachers early 2022 as a Math Instructor. Megan creates a fun and supportive learning environment for students while teaching them the fundamentals of Making Math Real  to help them overcome their math difficulties.   Her desire to connect with students and instill a love of learning makes Megan an asset to Read Academy.

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Daisha Correa

Reading Instructor

Daisha developed a love for teaching in college when she switched her major to pursue a teaching career. While attending Sacramento State she continued to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Daisha is a Reading and Writing Instructor trained in Foundation in Sounds, Barton Reading & Spelling, Wilson Reading System, and Institute for Excellence in Writing Curriculum. She helps students achieve their educational goals and strives to provide a fun learning environment for all.

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Audrey Melendez

Reading and Math Instructor

Audrey holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business and worked as a computer programmer before retiring to raise her children.  She homeschooled her sons from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  After that, Audrey wanted to help other moms homeschool but it turned out that what they most requested was tutoring! Currently, she tutors for a homeschool enrichment program as well as for Read Learning Center.  She is an in-demand tutor for both facilities and enjoys being a blessing to children and their families.

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Gretchen Eiferle

Reading Instructor
Gretchen Eiferle is a lifelong education enthusiast. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State and is now working on her Master of Education. She’s a seasoned teacher who has taught in Sacramento and has worked in Special Education at Folsom Cordova School District. When she’s not busy inspiring young minds, Gretchen can usually be found with her nose in a book or having a blast with her loved ones.

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LaShauna Grace

Reading Instructor
La Shauna joined the READ team in April 2023. She has a Para-Educator certificate and 8+ years of experience leading small reading groups in classrooms. Before READ, she directed an RTI Team that closed reading gaps for primary and middle school students. As a mother with a child who has a learning disability, understanding her child’s learning style was crucial. She is eager to share her love of reading and knowledge with her students. 

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Maya Medina

Reading Instructor
Maya is new to Read Learning Center but not to tutoring. She is completing her Bachelor’s in Biology and Chicanx Studies at UC Davis. She loves working with young students as she wants to help them develop the skills they need to fully explore the endless possibilities in their world in the same way her love of learning has allowed her to. Growing up as one of the oldest in a large extended family of many grandchildren, she feels right at home with all her students!

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Berenice Mejia

Reading Instructor
Berenice Mejia is a reading instructor who recently joined our team. She holds a BA in Child Development and Adolescents from California State University, Sacramento. She volunteered at Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance in Roseville during her last year before graduating. She was supporting and connecting with families who are battling childhood cancer; still, to this day, she attends Keaton’s events to help out in any way she can. From there, she found her love and passion to teach and support all children in the education setting. 

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Reiley Russ

Physical Education Instructor
Reiley is a dedicated physical education teacher with a passion for fostering an active and healthy lifestyle among students. With a strong background in team sports, Reiley brings expertise on soccer, golf, wrestling, and cross country. His commitment to students’ physical well-being is reflected in their achievements and positive impact on the school community.

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Jose Garcia

Reading Instructor
Bio coming soon…

Coming Soon

Satory Rhodes

Reading Instructor
Bio coming soon…

Coming Soon